More than 20 months after it was grounded following two deadly crashes, Boeing's 737 MAX returned to the skies on Wednesday with an incident-free commercial flight in Brazil, said AFP journalists on board.
Low-cost airline Gol's Flight 4104 from Sao Paulo arrived safely in the southern city of Porto Alegre about 70 minutes after take-off using the revamped jet, in a first that Boeing hopes will turn the page on a badly damaging crisis in the wake of the twin crashes.
Most travelers aboard the 88% booked plane, which had a capacity of 186 passengers, took little notice of the model number painted on its nose. Gol's crew for their part made no mention of the fact that it was the first commercial flight for the 737 MAX since its worldwide grounding in March 2019.
Gol said it was fully confident in the safety upgrades and expanded pilot training program implemented by Boeing as part of aviation regulators' conditions to recertify the plane.
For the past 20 months, we have been carrying out the most intensive safety review in the history of commercial aviation, Gol's vice-president for operations, Celso Ferrer, said in a statement. Safety comes first and foremost.
A Gol spokesman said that any passenger who did not feel comfortable flying on the 737 MAX would be allowed to reschedule at no cost for up to 12 months from the date of purchase.